One of the biggest challenges brand marketers face today is brand differentiation.
Giving consumers a compelling reason to consider their brand has always been a challenge. But in today's media cluttered envioroment, it's a lot harder to get - and hold - an audience's attention.
This means that marketers have to find new ways to attract the interest of their audience beyond price, value and functional benefits.
Social impact is one powerful way in which brands can do this. Aligning a brand with a cause in way that unlocks both brand and social value - cause marketing.
This is how the Belgian beer brand Stella Artois are doing it.
In 2015, Stella Artois (a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev) joined forces with Water.org to launch “Buy a Lady a Drink” and donated $1.2 million to help improve access to safe water for women around the world. They invited beer lovers to contribute by buying a limited edition Stella Artois Chalice. Every purchase of the chalice helps provide 5 years of clean drinking water for one person.
Side note: The 1 Chalice = 5 years clean drinking water claim is a big one.
Dig a little deeper and the delivery on this statement is a bit questionable.
There's an article here that fact-checks this claim and gives deeper insight
into how Water.org fulfil their mission.
The partnership launched in 2015 in five global markets – the US, UK, Canada, Belgium and Argentina. It has since expanded to Brazil, Chile and Uruguay and most recently to Mexico, Australia and South Africa
Today the partnership is in its fourth year. Their new advertisement "Taps" launched at this year's Superbowl and features Water.org co-founder, Matt Damon, who notes...
“If just one percent of viewers watching the Super Bowl this year purchased
a Chalice, we could help provide access to clean water for up to
one million people in need.”
People have three alternative ways they can get involved – through the purchase of a Limited-Edition Chalice, a 12-pack, or a pour at a bar.
Stella Artois' digital campaign amplifies this message. It features the video stunt above and is called "The wait for water". The video films the reactions of patrons at restaurants and hotels when they're told they're out of water and they'll have to wait up to 6 hours for a glass of water or a shower. It's compelling watching, not least because it rouses us from our pre-occupation with our own lives and reminds us that millions of people on the planet don't have access to the most basic resources. The video then highlights what the Stella Artois / Water.org partnership has delivered to date and ends with a call-to-action for the viewer to help by sharing this message or buying a limited edition chalice.
The overall campaign is a great example of a brand playing educator, collaborator and facilitator. By enabling their audience to create meaningful social impact while they engage with their brand, Stella Artois makes their audience feel good about the actions they take and subsequently good about Stella Artois.
To date, Stella Artois has helped provide more than 1 million people in the developing world with access to five years of clean water through the sale of more than 500,000 Limited Edition Chalices, and by directly donating more than $8 million to Water.org.